What a difference two short weeks make. Just 14 days ago, the A's were putting the finishing touches on a three game sweep of the Yankees and were in the final stages of a six game winning streak. Hopes were high, the Astros were low, and nothing seemed out of the A's reach.
Press live on your remote and things are a touch different. The A's just wrapped a homestand in which they dropped their final four games, three of which they easily could have won if they were competent. They're not, at least right now. The Astros are still in last place though!
That could all change. It's a long season, one which could still go any number of ways. We're 18% finished with the year, the equivalent of 15 NBA games, 3 NFL Games, or 4 episodes of the show The Bachelor. That's basically nothing, and we have no clue which mediocre team will win the AL West's final rose.
But I'm not here to tell you it's unreasonable to read too far into a loss on a Wednesday in early May. I'm not here to tell you not to panic yet, even though I kind of just did. My point here is that we should enjoy baseball, even when it's bad because bad baseball is better than no baseball. There are ways to do this outside of the A's, but let's be real - you're still going to watch the games.
Look for the good things in the game, even if your team is down. Last year was one of the worst in recent A's history but it still gave us glorious story-lines like Billy Burns' emergence, Mark Canha's sideburns, and Marcus Semien's rise from historically awful to meh defensively. You can't just stop watching during the bad times. I suppose you can. But you won't. You really can't live and die by every game during the bad times, though. For one, each game is a tiny, minuscule part of the season so it's unreasonable to draw anything major about a single contest. You're not reasonable, though. You're a fan, short for fanatic, which means you ignore the world to watch men in tights turn left three times after swinging polished lumber at a well stitched ball.
Baseball works in ebbs and flows, even the evil rich teams go through playoff droughts and even the sea creatures from the Pacific Northwest will find themselves in the playoffs one day. Maybe. To quote the old cliche, if you fail seven out of ten times, you're in the Hall of Fame. That's a bit simplistic, but it bears truth for fans too. Most baseball teams miss the playoffs seven out of ten times and we just might be in the midst of a tough stretch. We're in a metaphorical at bat, wearing a blindfold, facing Clayton Kershaw. We just made three consecutive playoffs and postseason results be damned, we're due for some ugly baseball.
What you shouldn't do is grit your teeth every time something bad happens and worry if the A's five year plan is feasible, if the front office is capable of bringing this team back to contention, or if the A's will ever find a stadium they can call home. These are all important issues, of course. And we're going to talk about them over, and over, and over. But if you're focus is always on the big stuff, you miss the little stuff that makes baseball great.
So let's say the A's lose again in 2016, maybe more than once, maybe in increments that make your blood boil like four in a row at home. Of course you're going to be mad and annoyed, and you're going to rush order a Robinson Cano bobblehead off Amazon Prime just so you can run it over with your car.
Get that out of your system and enjoy the good parts. Watch Sean Manaea and his infectious smile develop into a big league pitcher. Enjoy Marcus Semien going yard again off Felix Hernandez, furthering his case for weirdest baseball player of all time. Coco Crisp is squeezing just a little more magic out his presumed broken body, and you should soak it up like a sponge.
And who knows, maybe the A's aren't bad. Maybe they're just on the verge of breaking out offensively, maybe they'll back their way into a division crown. Baseball is unpredictable and the team picked by almost every pundit and projection system to win the AL West is eight games under .500 and the division is wide open.
Baseball is too dang fun to not enjoy the ride.